There are 10 films nominated for best picture, but "The Movie Man" Russ Leatherman says it's basically a two-horse race between "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker."
Leatherman thinks "Up" has no shot at best picture, but is a lock for Best Animated Feature.
The Best Actress race looks to be a close call between Meryl Streep (for "Julie & Julia") and Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side." Leatherman thinks this is one category where the Academy may vote for a surprise and give Oscar gold to Bullock.
But as for the film itself, Leatherman is less enthused.
"It's a little bit of a very blatant attempt by the Academy to make this a party for everyone," Leatherman said, noting films that were more critically-lauded, like "Invictus," got bumped.
What surprises are in store for this year's show?
For the first time since the inaugural show in 1929, two hosts will take the reigns. Steve Martin has hosted twice before, but this is Alec Baldwin's first opportunity.
The pair will take the stage on a set designed to make the show run more smoothly. Three turntables move set pieces in and out quickly, cutting the time between camera shots.
The Oscars set is a gleaming white this year, so look for the colorful gowns to pop when onstage.
The more the merrier
One of the biggest changes this year is the inclusion of 10 Best Picture nominees. However, this isn't new for the Academy. For eight years from the late 1930s and early 1940s, 10 nominees were the norm.
Now those vintage movie posters of the 80 Oscar-nominated films from that era are on display at the Academy's Grand Lobby.
"The More the Merrier" exhibit is open to the public and runs through April 18. The Academy's Grand Lobby is located at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.
Randolph Duke looks back at Oscars fashion
"I think the recession is absolutely the time when people want to look glamorous," said Duke. "I think you're going to see 'knock 'em dead,' all-out grand looks."
Duke notes it has been a diverse decade for Oscars fashion. Julia Roberts started the decade with a classic Valentino black and white dress. The very next year, Halle Berry sported a daring, sheer look that complimented her sexiness.
And what will this year's actresses wear? Find out when they arrive on the red carpet. You can watch On The Red Carpet at the Academy Awards on ABC7 starting at 3 p.m. PST on Sunday, March 7.